“A successful night”, or “how the health department showed up at the market, but were very nice”

So the first of many (hopefully) underground farmers markets is over. It was a total success. People showed up, but not so many that the cops came. Vendors brought enough that there was something for the late comers, but just enough so they sold out. The music was amazing (although I didn’t get to hear as much as I would have liked, tethered to my vendor table). It was a really cool mix of folks; hipsters, seniors, toddlers, old school hippies, young urban farmer types.

The vendors who showed up were….
Slow Jams-Really great Jam, and Shakirah sold out!
- Forage SF
- Will Schrom: homemade sarsaparilla
- Captain Blankenship: soaps and salves
- Garden Fare: edible garden gift boxes
- The Golden Crust: pies ($15-20/pie or $3/slice) and chai
- The Girl From Empanada (aka. Chile Lindo): empanadas
- Lauren & Jon Bowne (aka. Pearl’s Kitchen): homemade Jewish deli fare, they had a pasta and cheese casserole
- Five Flavors Herbs: wild foraged tinctures
- Honey vendor

I think its great that people will come out to support their local producers. The vendors at this market are all pros, they know their stuff, how to make it good, and how to make it safe. The only reason they aren’t legit is money. It was great to see them get an opportunity to get their stuff out there, make some cash, and get some exposure.

So….the health department did show up. Was a pretty nerve wracking couple minutes. I’ve never actually dealt with the health department before, and I must say that I’ve always had the feeling out them that I do about most government organization, dread. They’re scary, showing up with their notebooks, checking boxes, with the power to command an army of police to shut you down….but I must say that the health department was very nice. I was amazed. We had a 10 minute chat about how I might do the market again in the future, and ways to make it more legit. I was totally amazed, and pleased with the interaction. I know what you’re thinking, I’m just writing that to suck up, so they won’t bust me, but it’s true. In the end I wish they hadn’t come at all, but if they had to come (because tipped them off!), then I have to say they came correct (“correct” is what the kids are saying these days).

Apparently they showed up because SOMEONE FROM A LEGIT FARMERS MARKET RATTED US OUT!!!! You hear that!? Can you believe it? I can’t. What happened to community? Supporting our local food producers? I guess only if they have $100/hr to spend on commercial kitchen space do they deserve to share their products. I’d like to know who did it. I’d like to have a conversation with them. If they had concerns about the market, they should have come to me. We could have discussed ways to make it better, they could have helped rather than sicking the hounds on us. Bastards.

But on a lighter note, everything worked out. I had a really good time, hundreds of people came, we had some drinks, ate some food, met some great people, listened to some music, and made some cash. Doesn’t get much better.

If you missed this one, and are interested in finding out when/where we’re doing it again, sign up for our email list.

Check out our facebook page for more pics from the market

~ by foragesf on December 18, 2009.

7 Responses to ““A successful night”, or “how the health department showed up at the market, but were very nice””

  1. Enjoyed the market last night, sad I missed out on the homemade corned beef! It’s unfortunate someone felt the need to report the event to the Health Department. One thing I will say is that there might be a better name than “farmers” market since I don’t think any actual farmers were there. Anyway, congrats on a successful night!

  2. I’m totally inspired by this and now hosting the first one in the UK at The Underground Restaurant in London. Fantastic stuff

  3. I think it’s misinformed to diss or fear the health department; public health departments are in the very front line of protecting community health, i.e, yours and mine and the neighborhood’s. I think your market is an excellent idea, and I fully support your efforts to make it safe and rewarding for everyone.

  4. [...] being paid a visit by the health department, the market was a success (read my post about that here).  Throughout the year I’ve found that there are an abundance of home cooks out there producing [...]

  5. [...] very first Underground Market they held in San Francisco was visited by Health Inspectors, tipped off by someone from a normal [...]

  6. [...] very first Underground Market they held in San Francisco was visited by Health Inspectors. They were very friendly and gave [...]

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